The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to delay a trial set for next month regarding the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
In a request filed Monday, the administration requested the Nov. 5 trial be postponed until the court determines the scope of the trial and addresses certain matters such as whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is required to respond to questions.
Ross announced in March the decision to include the question on the 2020 census and said doing so would ensure better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The move prompted the legal challenge from New York and the other states, one of six that seek to stop the Trump administration from including the citizenship question on the census.
The administration argues that there shouldn't be a trial into the decision-making by Ross, whose department oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, including whether a “secret racial animus” was a factor behind the decision to include the citizenship question.
“The harms to the government from such a proceeding are self-evident,” the Justice Department wrote in the request.
The Justice Department said the “most efficient path forward is to stay the trial and resolve the question whether the district court must confine the review of the Secretary’s decision to the administrative record, while leaving sufficient time for the district court to conduct its review followed by prompt appellate review.”
The request comes after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman refused to halt the trial, saying a delay could hold up the conclusion of the case. An appeals court also refused to postpone the trial.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court halted a deposition of Ross from taking place, putting on hold a ruling from the lower court in New York. The order gave the government until Monday to file a petition for the justices to review the case.
The administration claims information on citizenship is necessary for voting rights laws, but critics of the question are concerned it will discourage people from immigrant communities from responding.
The plaintiffs in the case are composed of a group of states, cities, counties, and civil rights groups, including the state of New York and the American Civil Liberties Union.